I was a little surprised when I popped in this 1994 demo for the first time in who knows how many years - CABLE doesn't sound dated, and the tracks have all of the power that I remember. Emotionally charged erratic hardcore that acts as a bridge of sorts between early '90s basement DIY and the technically proficient sounds of bands like CAVE IN....a scene that would, by the turn of the century, all but completely remove itself from underground punk and hardcore. Demos like this help quantify some of the frustrations that (some) (older) rockers have with current waves of bands trying to emulate sounds and scenes from the past: bands like CABLE weren't trying to sound like anyone, they were just going for it. This is what happened.
30 May 2016
Noisy and bombastic hardcore, blown to shit just the way you mutants like it. It's from Italy. You know what else is from Italy? Fukkn Rome. ROME is not just from Italy - Rome is IN Italy. Shit is fukkn wild. POLIS-ÄCKEL bash out DBeat creamer after DBeat creamer...full fury fist in the air manis...tinny guitar peaked for no reason, total and glorious monotony. This is what Mondays were made for....this week is yours, punk.
29 May 2016
Energetic, catchy as hell São Paulo punk circe 1994. I got nothing to say (I know, weird, right?) because I have no connection to the tape - but the tunes are there and this tape is a blast. Treat yourself here instead of church. Trust me. Choice creamer: the one riff anthem "Skater's Head."
28 May 2016
27 May 2016
Tapes like this are why I buy things on a whim. A hunch. A gamble, if you will. Saw a band a few months ago, it was pretty cool. The band did a good job, file under "not really my thing," but they were totally good, if you get my drift. Perusing their wares post set, I came across this two track cassette and I thought it looked....interesting. Found out it was a solo thing from one of the fellows in the band I had just seen, electronic and noisy....so I parted with five of my dollars and slipped a copy of Alia's Fine into my bag with the rest of my booty. This tape is not good, this tape does not "get the job done." This tape fukkn sucks you in and becomes one with your very being. One the one hand, it's so simple: primitive analog (sounding) synths, exceptionally chilled out beats (on one track), both masked by a soothing cloud of distortion and noise. I mean...that's it, so any fool could do this....right? I welcome all fools to try, and I hope you succeed like this, because this one is a total fukkn success.
26 May 2016
Please, punk. Please do not let the cover of this '90s Tennessee hardcore demo allow The Doubt to sink in and lead you to the wrong decision. I urge you, punk. I urge you to make the right decision and download these creamers. Keep them with you, punk. I don't want you to be without, punk...I want you to have all of the metallic hardcore that you want. What were these mutants doing in 1997? File alongside OTTAWA, URANUS, MOHINDER...the kind of fukkd, discordant, chaotic 'core that would make your jaw drop when you witnessed a delivery by a van full of unpretentious and unassuming youngsters. That was BOOBYHATCH. Check the Grinding Asscore At Its Worst EP on Denied A Custom (dude - that guy used to send SO many stickers and weird shit with his mailorder packages...but I digress) and the slab with the same title as this demo (slightly different track list though) on House 'O Pain. Post REDNECKS IN PAIN and pre ASSCHAPEL, in case anyone is paying attention. Under appreciated hardcore is the fukkn shit.
25 May 2016
As anyone who has enjoyed the substance referenced in the last few band monikers is well aware, too much of a good thing is never a bad thing. So on with the meth...this time in the crystalline form of disgusting grind/PV of the highest order from Virginia, circa 2012. This shit is light years beyond ugly, and appears to be all that METH LAB has left us with.
24 May 2016
Sometimes you just want to grind, right? Sometimes you just want ignorant simplicity and devastating ferocity, and you shouldn't have to choose. Nor should you have to slog through piles of technical shitcore with fake riffs and triggered drums. Nor the endless barrage of sexist bullshit associated with the porno and gore scenes (note: I definitely realize that I just typed the phrase "porno and gore scenes" and it definitely made me laugh). Sometimes.....? Sometimes you just want to grind. I was in Texas a while back and my pal Clay brought me some tapes - he gives me way more things that I give him, and I want to return the favor but he just has SO much more cool (and, likely, cooler) shit than me. This banger from METH LEPPARD was in the mix, and has been on regular rotation ever since I got home. For the doubters, the NAPALM DEATH cover ("Siege Of Power") is on fukkn point....and it might be the slowest track on the tape.
23 May 2016
Final effort from this group of Bay Area outsiders, METH SORES leave the building with more noise and confusion than ever before. Chaotic and awkward, their recordings embody actual despair and actual frustration - noise and misanthropy shoved into one machine. I've covered them at length, their demos have always perked my ears, the live shows were sporadic and weird...the shit is punk. Check the Life Sucker Productions, check ABUSIVO (new band with METH SORES members...I think), and check this Slimey Beast.
22 May 2016
ZEBU was completely unknown to me until their drummer Joey answered our SF Weekly ad for a drummer (we had no friends and we had a tour booked...so we rolled the dice - and nine weeks later we needed a drummer again). Joey introduced us to SCHLONG (who we loved, and Gavin built us a really really treacherous loft that lasted for several more tours), and Joey had been in a band called THE LJs with OPERATION IVY dudes. He also had some pretty intense interactions with a bunch of deceased musicians while we were on a bender in New Orleans, but that's a different story. Totally off the radar and freakishly proficient '90s East bay punk. Complete your collection.
21 May 2016
The tension that this tape creates is difficult to describe...you spend the first few minutes wanting it to go somewhere, the next few wondering if it will, and the few after that realizing that it won't - and then you really get tense, because you still WANT it to. And then the second side of the tape brings pure and blissful salvation in the form of a soaring 12 minute exorcism...and the first side suddenly has more meaning and context than you could have imagined. Trance inducing psychedelic drone that sounds like it's from another time as much as from another planet...OPHIBRE is insanely prolific, and this 2010 release is just the tip of the iceberg.
20 May 2016
London's EFIALTIS struggle though seven filthy lurches on this demo. I'll take gritty and determined over calculated and proficient any day, and when the tempo picks up on "Oneirropagida" I am hopelessly hooked. I hear early Spanish punk creeping through the mix...but mostly I hear something that I like.
19 May 2016
I swear kids....I swear that this shit wasn't always evil and to be avoided at all costs. '90s "melodic hardcore" (as it was frequently referred to at the time) is full of unsung gems that are worthy of revisiting. For every mainstream punk LAGWAGON, there were ten GOMEZ's, and for every few paint-by-numbersmades made up of total douchelords, there was a band like DEAD FISH. These Brasilians appeared on The Escape before with their first demo, and 1995's (Re)Progresso...? is the perfect sophomore effort (check the two versions of "Social Aggression" against each other). This one is faster, tighter, and the vocals are more confident....don't be scared of the hooks kids. There's nothing wrong with humming along, even if you don't know the words (or don't speak Portuguese).
18 May 2016
17 May 2016
Boo Boo handed me this a while ago....and I figured it would be pretty good. That dude is typically pretty good at things, and I knew that he'd been fucking with synths and electronics, so I figured he'd be pretty good at those too. I didn't know he would be this good. From TANGERINE DREAM to minimal techno to dated dance floor burners, this HARMS tape delivers from start to finish. "Run. Fucking Go And Get Out Of Here" is the absolute jam, but I think it works so much better juxtaposed against the overwhelmingly mellow backdrop of the rest of Let The Moment Wash You Away. No attempt to be weirder or more intense or more mysterious, just a blissfully successful electronic soundtrack to accompany you on your journey....whatever that journey might be.
16 May 2016
One quick ear to the bass that opens this 2009 tape and you think you know what you're in for. Then come the drums, and you start to realize that HATSURI are so much more over the top than you thought. Frantic, noisy, chaotic Japanese insanity of the highest order here - piercing noise punk guitars, thunderous drums, riffs that go from start to weird to warp speed and back to Japanese hardcore in half a minute, and the vocals are every bit as manic as the music demands. Total under the radar banger, and from what I can tell this release on Freedom Fighter is the totality of their output - I guess if you're gonna go fast, you might as well go strong.
15 May 2016
Filthy punkgrind creamers from Texas, CRYPTIC VOID are even better on this (four minute cassette) release than last year's Psychomanteum. Relentless grindcore with zero bullshit and nothing even remotely resembling a fukk to be given anywhere near this recording. Sometimes you want to get primal. PaleoGrind.
14 May 2016
Somewhere between East LA and Compton lies the metropolitan Los Angeles community of Maywood. And somehow amongst the rows of strip malls and chain stores and weird metro chain burger/taco joints (Tom's #7, Leo's #2, Fresh & Meaty isn't too far away, but they don't have tacos...I digress), somehow the village of Maywood birthed a sinister and brutal speed/death/thrash metal behemoth....and that behemoth is called INFERNAL DAMNATION (fair warning: at the time of posting, this link will send you to a popular social networking website, and specifically to a page on that website with an artist's depiction of boobies...so don't click that link if you hate society and/or boobs....ahhhh, metal). Triggered kicks, dueling leads, vocals not brutal enough for death metal but too confident for thrash metal (note: as a result, these vox are essentially perfect), a vague but not overpowering '90s SXE click in the bass...and hooks. Seriously. The 2:01 mark of "Dominions Obscure," when the guitar teases you into thinking that we are about to drop into straight thrash gear? That shit is tight. The top burner at TEHQ is "Cast Down Into Hell Fire," but that might because it's the purest ripper on the tape....although the BM breakdown in "Decomposed Hordes" is super hard to fuck with. Actually...this whole thing is hard to fuck with.
13 May 2016
Three bands from Yakutsk, capital of the Sakha Republic in Siberia - a city of 300,000 isolated motherfuckers who are starting to drop some really compelling punk and hardcore bands. ШАРМ СС were here recently, but this other shit....? I'm just saying you need to get amongst the Russia Train now to avoid being left behind, because that shit is leaving the station and it's standing room only. ЖЕНСКАЯ ДИСГАРМОНИЯ, DEAD BIEBER'S, and ШАРМ СС make some seriously engaging racket on this comp...raw and discordant punk and hardcore shits to share with all your friends. Can you believe that Matt just didn't want this anymore and gave it to me? Shit - I couldn't believe it either.
12 May 2016
SMOKERS are one of the coolest recent Bay Area bands to pop up, especially refreshing after a discussion I had with some bandmates about how lacking the area is for Hot New Acts these days. Drenched in Aussie punk ("Silver Tongue" in particular reminded me instantly of CELIBATE RIFLES, one of my many underappreciated faves), smoky high energy pub jams (DRONES, WASPS, etc...) and first wave early '70s proto punk, these tracks grab you instantly, and all I want is more than these 19 minutes.
11 May 2016
TIMEGHOST either casually dropped an homage to primitive analog noise compositions, or managed to harness the originality of artists like IVO MALEC and JOHN PFEIFFER...blips, monologues, whirs, digital oddities, found sounds. From the subtle beats in "Delicate Resonances" to the gnome-esque murmurings that weave in and out of the electronics on "On Airs, Waters & Places," Cellular is a dark and deliberate offering. Released in 2014 by Load on wax and Chondritic Sound on cassette...this one is not so much a listen, but a journey.
10 May 2016
Me and John were half in the bag when these mutants took the floor by storm in an Oklahoma City garage back in February. OK...maybe 2/3 in the bag, but you get the idea. Snarling filthy old punk, the shit swings and drips with undeniable attitude, and when the beat drops on "Cold Glass," that Riot City-by-way-of-Midwest-dirt-punk beat has never sounded so sweet. Guitars are fukkn fierce...shit, the whole thing is fierce. Listen to the vocals on "Idiot." Trust me. Three certified bangers from MENTHOL, with some killer uncredited sounds on the flip...
09 May 2016
It's a difficult thing to explain (to some people), but there is an absolute art to creating the perfect trash. And that totally fukkd guitar that starts "Who's Right?" is a prime example. It sounds like complete garbage. I would never want it anywhere near anything that I attached my name to...but it is absolutely brilliant in its sheer shit. MASHER drop maniacal guitar/drum dual vocal mince/grind on this demo, 25 tracks (including the mandatory recording of someone taking a piss) in around ten minutes. Brutal, tuneless, politically uncompromising, filthy no-fi grind. To the people who like this shit, I say: this is good. To the rest of you I say: this is good, even if you don't know it.
08 May 2016
Early 2000s, San Francisco Bay Area. All these kids popped out of The Avenues and the peninsula suburbs - mostly they were cruising around the weekend matinee shows at Mission Records, but we would see them at Gilman on occasion too. We were mostly transplants, so the notion of actual born and raised Bay Area punks was a cool one, especially when they were teenagers. Turned out that some of them had some pretty cool bands, and pretty soon SHARP KNIFE and LAB RATS were not just attending those matinee shows, they were playing them. They had two singers, they had more teenage energy than any of us could have hoped for, and listening to this tape makes me feel ten years younger than I am (which is still several years older than I was at the time).
07 May 2016
I don't know man...sometimes you just need to hear a dude from New Mexico singing modern country tunes about rodeos. Fuck rodeos, by the way, in every way imaginable, but still....a good jam is a good jam. And to hear Pope sing "she's a liberated woman // she's a breed of her own" - well I'm almost able to believe that he's a progressive cowboy and not just singing about a horse. I'm thinking Johnny listened to more than a few Marty Robbins records, and I would suggest that those listens served him well. Enjoy.